While 2025 may almost sound like science fiction to some, others are already busy setting their sights on the technological horizon and placing their bets.
Will telepresence make it big? What about online collaboration? Social TV? Or advancements in standardization? Those are just some of the topics up for discussion, with executive speakers hailing from a number of top companies including Samsung, Huawei, Comcast, Plantronics, Cisco, Primesense and more.
Not content to wait for the future, EE Times recently put a few questions of its own to IMTC’s president, Anatoli Levine.
There's a problem with the future. It's always at least a day away. "Back to the Future" promised us hoverboards and flying cars by 2012, but we still don't have those. So, what's the point of wondering about something so far away?
A: Let’s start with a couple of banalities. You can’t drive forward by only looking into a rearview mirror. Also, if you want to arrive somewhere, you should be checking your course regularly; otherwise you will never arrive at your destination. Humans are fascinated with the future. We are constantly trying to guess what lies ahead. That keeps us going, reaching out to the impossible. When we try to predict what is coming, we really unleash our imagination, and get our subconscious to work on getting the answers and making the future happen.
Over the past five years, people have constantly predicted "video everywhere” as a future game changer. Internet television has also been a consistent theme. And yet, neither prediction seems to have taken hold as pervasively as people thought. Why do we keep pushing in this direction? Maybe people want other things in their future and we're barking up the wrong tree?
A: There are multitudes of problems which get in a way. To begin with, humans are visual creatures – we love good, vivid, life-like pictures. Achieving life-like quality for video is still a moving target. If, however, you were to remove the ability to talk over the phone and exchange written messages (e-mail, text/SMS, even mail) – we would completely freak out and find ourselves stuck. We can function quite well without video, so video is still not a need-based type of communication.
Two more important factors are cost and complexity. Nobody wants to pay a lot of money for video and we want things to be simple.
Yes, the original phone was probably spooky, but it was easy to use. Video is still working its way into the “easy” category – even though it has made very significant advances thanks to Skype and Facetime. When we reach ultimate ease of use, very high quality and very low price, video will have a blueprint for success.
How true. I'd love to be able to use keys instead of mouse, but most of the systems do not allow this (or allow to some extent). It is so much faster to use the keyboard.
I always thought there's something wrong with me :)
My feeling is that all these more "natural" interfaces will make us aware how different we are "under the hood". E.g. touch interfaces don't work for me.
Whenever I tried to use a touchpad, the cursor went any direction but the one I wanted it to go - so I ignore each and every touch interface. I only feel secure if I am allowed to hit keys. Very probably a lot of persons are having similar experinces, but do not dare to tell...
First, my kids generation is that last that will need to learn to drive.
The PC will still exist but the form will be completely different. Something roughly analogous to what we use today will be around, but largely for specialized or high-end applications. For the masses, most of us will have our PC in our pocket and will just be able to wirelessly connect to any I/O devices that happen to be around.
Whatever device we are up against might just be a dumb terminal allowing us to use the processing power in our pocket, or it might be a system that would just take on the personality of our device.
I dunno, most of the time when I see people explaining how some technology never made it, or isn't already here, I find myself disagreeing.
Internet TV? That's most of the TV I watch anymore. Never had or wanted cable or satellite. I use terrestrial DTV for live news, and just about exclusively watch anything else from various web sites. Including the major TV networks' own web sites, including European news programs from their web sites, Hulu, and so on. All on a nice TV, with good audio, while sitting on a couch. What more Internet TV do you want?
I've heard people complaining that the video phone was never invented. Really? The practical and cheap video phone was "invented" with the IETF Real Time Protocol, along with MPEG digital compression algorithms, back in the early 1990s. Want an actual box? Think Skype over a tablet, for example.
In my car, I can call anyone without touching a keypad. The system uses voice synthesis and voice recognition. So that's already here.
Seems clear that there will be much more of this, and it also seems to me that we'll see a lot more driving automation. Cars communicating with other cars and with the roadway. Motion sensing as an I/O technique, for sure.
Whatever you want to predict has to make some economic sense, though. I'd bet we will see bases on the moon, or on asteroids, if we want to extract minerals from those parts. And wouldn't that be interesting.
@ "Back to the Future" promised us hoverboards and flying cars by 2012, but we still don't have those.
"2001" promised us Moon bases 11 years ago, and we don't have those either...
"3001" promises us a decent human society by then. Forgive me if I have some doubts there too...
Join our online Radio Show on Friday 11th July starting at 2:00pm Eastern, when EETimes editor of all things fun and interesting, Max Maxfield, and embedded systems expert, Jack Ganssle, will debate as to just what is, and is not, and embedded system.